Zones fail their pupils

30th September 2005 at 01:00
Education priority zones for deprived neighbourhoods have failed to fulfil their role, mainly due to lack of funds, according to a report from the national statistics office.

"The introduction of the priority zones has had no significant effect on pupil achievement," it said.

The performance of pupils in zone schools overall remains inferior to that of other children, not only because they live in deprived neighbourhoods, but because the government has not made them enough of a priority. In adition, stigmatisation of the zones can demotivate teachers, the report said.

In the zones, which inspired England's own education action zones, teachers are younger than the national average, class sizes are only slightly smaller than elsewhere and staff turnover has accelerated over the years, despite payment of an annual 1,000-euro bonus introduced in 1990.

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